You Will Never Change Your Life Until…

Secret of Success is found in your daily routine - John Maxwell

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Here are three things to remove from your daily routine and three things to add.


Remove these things:


  1. 10 minutes of social media. I’m not saying to go Amish (I can always make fun of the Amish online because they have no proof I wrote anything). I’m telling you to find 10 minutes to remove. That’s all.
  2. 15 minutes (or more) of email. There are countless books, articles, and podcasts on managing your email. The KISS method of cutting back on email time is this: 
    • Check and respond in batches only during certain times of the day. Some brag that they only check twice a day. Great. I work in service industries so that is not optional, but I still stick to a strict schedule of checking email…and I knock out all of them each time.
    • Don’t check email on your phone unless you are prepared to reply. You probably waste 5-10 minutes each day reading and marketing as unread only to read again later.
    • Follow Rule #7 here and teach other my rules for not sucking at email. They will save you time!
  3. 10 minutes of “Open Fridge Staring.” Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that I find myself daily wondering what in the world I am going to eat. If you are like me, you can eliminate an average of 10 minutes each day by planning ahead one day a week. 

Add these things

  1. 5 minutes of cleaning. I’ve only truly cleaned my office once in two years. And it is spotless. Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to put things in order for the next day.
  2. 15 minutes of exercise. Every day. I am all for longer exercise times many days. But even on your off days, find 15 minutes first thing in the morning to get loose, get your heart rate up, and warm up for the day. 
  3. 15 minutes of planned breaks. Yes, I said planned. I am not a discipline junkie and I have yet to train my bladder to wait for my planned breaks. But, I do suggest three five minute breaks on your calendar each day to stretch, think, walk around, or lie down on the floor.

What can you take away from your daily routine that is unproductive or self-sabotaging?

What can you add that you are not currently doing?

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  • For someone who is challenged with time management, this is a brilliant plan. Thanks, Matt! Now if I could train my kids to follow it, we’ll be all set.

  • Great list, and I admit I’m better at the takeaways than the adds. Yeah, don’t do breaks, so that would definitely be something to think about as I’m sure it would refresh me and help me be more productive. For email, I have set up rules in my Outlook, so at least it streamlines things – blog comments go in a folder, Facebook notices in one – let’s me pick and choose what to look at and makes reading through a thread much quicker.

    • I love email rules. I don’t fully comprehend how people live without them.

  • Take sabbaths – 1 minute an hour…1 hour a day…one day a week…etc.

    • Jon, I needed the reminder on the 1 hour a day. I don’t do that. Thank you!

  • Steve Pate

    I’m a list guy, if I do one, I’m very productive, if I don’t do one, I can find my self day dreaming how to make xyz better or staring into the fridge.

    Social media…I’ve found facebook a bit childish now and lack of importance since I’ve made a habit of listening to great pod cast and reading only a very few blogs that have grabbed my attention. But I’ve found Checking in on Twitter, linked in, and blogs can wait until my lunch break or the end of the day instead of checking them every three hours.

    What can I add that I’m not currently doing?-recording how much time it takes me to do tasks. I’ve been in a habit of, “these are the two or three things I’m focusing on, and when their done, their done!” but for the most part I can’t tell you to the minute how much time it took.

    Planning out my days off three weeks ahead of time, does force me to plan better too!

    • Good stuff Steve. Ironically I have found freedom in structuring everything about my day.

  • More exercise? I guess I can do that. But please don’t take away my frequent email checks! You are spot on, if you can batch email work you will be much more effective.

  • Some awesome suggestions Matt! Thanks for sharing. What can I take away? checking my phone so often? It’s like an unconscious habit.
    What can I add? More time reading, scripture and self-improvment materials.

  • You had me…until you mentioned exercise – my arch-enemy! I need to work on these to improve my productivity (and cleanliness, organization, health, etc.). Thanks, Matt!

  • I need to get back to the planned breaks. I advocate this greatly for people but have strayed away from it over the past few weeks. Thanks for the reminder.!